Sunday, 22 July 2007

Little Italy

Look who I saw on the streets of London this afternoon:

The occasion was the annual procession in honour of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, which has been organised by St Peter's Italian Church in Clerkenwell since 1883. The floats were arranged by parish groups and confraternities, as well as Italian associations from Manchester, Birmingham and elsewhere. Here you can see the clergy and (I think) members of the Confratelli del SS Sacramento waiting in the porch:

The main floats depicted Biblical scenes, such as Our Lord standing before Pontius Pilate:

These two angels, announcing the Assumption, are obviously wearing parts of a rather fine High Mass set belonging to the church:

The First Communion children were led by Jesus, holding a ciborium:

There were many statues in evidence, including Our Lady of Mount Carmel herself. In true continental fashion, each statue was greeting with the crowd's applause:

There were lesser known saints, like Santa Franca (a patron of Piacenza) and, as seen below, San Calogero (who seems to be a Greek hermit who evangelized the isles of Lipari and ended his days in Sicily):

I often wondered what England would be like if it was Catholic - and a glimpse of the answer was provided this afternoon!

I hadn't been before to London's Italian church, cared for by the Pallotine Fathers. It is a fine building, opened in 1863 and modelled on San Crisogano in Trastevere, Rome. It's hard to believe that you're in the midst of London, especially on a day like today. In the surrounding streets, which were closed to traffic, there were stalls selling Italian specialities. In honour of Our Lady of Mount Carmel I treated myself to a bottle of grappa from the Valle d'Aosta!

The next procession is on 20 July 2008, starting at 3.30pm - so make a note of it in your diary!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

er... um, you know, in the first picture it seems as though you've nabbed the Pope from Lorenzago di Cadore. :)

6:57 pm  
Blogger Dr. Peter H. Wright said...

Good heavens.
This is the nearest thing I have seen to the processions in the little island of Gozo, off Malta.
Is this really London in 2007 ?

9:15 pm  
Blogger Dr. Peter H. Wright said...

I forgot to say in my earlier comment that the place to be for a really spectacular procession in honour of Our Lady is the Cathedral of the Assumption, Gozo,
on the Feast of the Assumption of the BVM.
This year, August 15 falls on a Wednesday, I think.
Yes, I know it's Maltese, not Italian.
I've not seen it for years.
I hope its still going strong.
There is (or was) a Confraternity
of the Assumption.
And the famous statue of Santa Marija (I think that's the Maltese
spelling) is carried through the streets.
A great fiesta. Fireworks. The lot.
If you're on holiday in the area, don't miss it !

11:17 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


9:10 pm  
Blogger Matt Doyle said...

That looks incredible! Grapa is horrible though!

2:15 am  
Anonymous Don Marco, O.Cist. said...

On our dear Cistercian Saint Franca of Piacenza, see what I posted about her earlier this year:

4:05 am  

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